If you are a doctor, a nurse, a pharmacist or another medical professional, your license could be on the line if you are accused of drug abuse, misconduct, fraud or neglect that affects public safety or health. Yet an accusation is not proof. You need to carefully follow the steps in the letter you received notifying you of the complaint.

The notice of complaint letter

You should have learned of the complaint against you through a formal notice by mail. This notice of complaint letter is from a board investigator, and it invites you to set up an appointment. It will also set a deadline for you to respond.

How you respond to this letter is crucial, which is why you should never try to respond without having an attorney review the letter. Get representation right away – if you miss the deadline in the letter, you waive your right to a trial on the allegations.

The meeting with the investigator is, hopefully, the end of the matter. However, it is possible that the investigator could recommend a formal administrative complaint against your license.

Get the evidence you need to show your side of the story

Before you even respond to the letter, you and your attorney should discuss the specific allegations against you and how they could affect your professional license. Then, you should begin working on a plan to counter and refute the allegations, or at least to mitigate the facts.

Unfortunately, the possibilities for complaints are ever-evolving. Arizona’s medical licensing boards, the Board of Pharmacy and the Drug Enforcement Agency are continually changing what they choose to scrutinize. Disciplinary actions and even criminal charges are relatively common against medical professionals in Arizona, under certain circumstances, especially when the allegations against you involve using drugs.

If you have to face a threat to your license at all, your best hope is to have it end at the investigation stage. This can often be achieved with the right types of evidence or the appropriate response. Your goal at the investigator meeting is to persuade the investigator to lodge no formal complaint.

If a formal complaint is lodged, you cannot afford to go without an attorney. Many professionals have been forced to surrender their licenses, but you have the right to a trial. Work with a trial lawyer who has experience in Arizona professional licensing defense.